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  1. #1
    jojohaligo's Avatar
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    Rural dwellers and home cooked meals

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    Rural Americans Face Greater Obesity Risk Than City-Dwellers | LiveScience

    This statement just sounds so whacky! I can't believe that it gets published this way and then repeated all over the news. The news anchors say it with a straight face.

    " 'There is a definite cultural diet in rural America, full of rich, homemade foods including lots of meat and dessert,' Christie Befort, a University of Kansas researcher who led the study, said in a statement. "

    Homemade food is now a culprit. Who knew?
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    I agree it's poorly written - more of a visual soundbite than an actual article.

    I will say that at least for me, I walk more when I live in cities than when I live rurally or in the burbs. Whenever I live outside a city, I feel like I spend too much time in the car just getting somewhere. So, maybe that's why there's a disparity between younger urban and city people.

    Home cooking rocks of course.

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    I grew up in a rural area and home cooking meant boxes of crap, like yellow cake mix with sprite or lil' smokies in bbq sauce.

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    I live in a small town in a rural county and am temporarily staying in an affluent part of a big city, I just mentioned to my husband today that I I see much fewer overweight people here. Is it because they don't eat home coked meals? Who knows.

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    Rural Americans Are Fatter Than City-Dwellers

    A fuller portion of the interview Live Science sampled. Isolation, low activity levels, and poverty are the main culprits pin-pointed. The sentence about "home-made food" makes a nice sound bite but isn't really what the researchers are discussing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sarasue624 View Post
    Rural Americans Are Fatter Than City-Dwellers

    A fuller portion of the interview Live Science sampled. Isolation, low activity levels, and poverty are the main culprits pin-pointed. The sentence about "home-made food" makes a nice sound bite but isn't really what the researchers are discussing.
    Thanks.

    The link won't open for me unfortunately.

    I can't say I'm impressed by the "culprits" that have been "pinpointed".

    AFAICT, from the link given in the frst post "isolation" is a term meaning that:

    ... rural Americans often face ... challenges ... in getting access to health care and other services that would help keep their weight down ...
    I think that rather begs the question. Are these services really effective, or is there simply an assumption that they must be?

    As for "low activity levels". That's part of the governing ideology, but the recent study on the energetics of the Hadza would seem to call it into question:

    PLOS ONE: Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity

    That leaves us with "poverty". I'm inclined to think that might go along with poor food choices, and might also "cause" them to some extent. I think that's a complex subject, though. And obviously, hunter-gatherers, most of whom own little besides the clothes they stand up in and a few tools haven't been obese on that account. If it's not a "cause" but a case of there being a (probably poorly understood) connection in our sort of society (though not in all societies), then we must come back to poor food choices. The problem here is that the study authors would not agree with us, or with a number of competent reseachers in this area, as to what constitutes poor food choice.

    "There is a definite cultural diet in rural America, full of rich, homemade foods including lots of meat and dessert," Christie Befort, a University of Kansas researcher who led the study, said in a statement.
    I'm not sure what a "cultural diet" is and how it would differ from a non-cultural diet, but I think we get the point. Maybe they'll go with us some way and agree that "dessert" is a bad thing, but so, they assert, is meat.

    So why are the Maasai Moran rail-thin? Long silence.

    Maybe the study would be a little more nuanced than the report. Still the report contains direct quotes, and why say something if you don't mean it?

    "Physical activity is now needed to compensate for diet and technology," Befort said in a statement. "That requires cultural change because rural areas typically don't have a culture of physical activity as leisure time."
    My, she is obsessed by the word "culture" used a supposedly impressive but pretty much meaningless filler, isn't she?

    Words strain,
    Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
    Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
    Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
    Will not stay still. ...
    And, then again, some people take absolutely no care with them at all.

    We're back to "physical activity". But that that's the problem is just an assumption.

    And this is what's called "research".

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    I think this quote is most telling "While the gap was observed in adults 20 to 39 years old, such a disparity was not seen in older age groups in rural and urban areas, which Befort said might be attributed to disappearing labor-intensive jobs in rural areas."
    OR
    it could be because the younger generation is not eating those full on home cooked meals.
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    Rural in Santa Barbara means in some places wine grapes, race horses and cattle ranches. Those folks aren't particularly fat. It also means broccoli farms, strawberries and flowers. The people out picking that stuff aren't fat either.
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    When I read "rural" I think of southern Indiana down through W. Virginia. I've visited those areas, and yeah, obesity is a problem, along with poor food choices. Culprit? Not sure, but I'm pointing a finger at them being former farmers/homesteaders who got told by Big Ag to stop because they were doing it "all wrong." They work hard at being "civilized" by buying pasteurized milk at the grocery store, eschewing their former "bad" eating habits (like eating pork back every morning), and rejoicing when McD's opens up close by so they can be "normal" like the people they see on TV. This is, broadly speaking, the "culture" I think the article is talking about.

    People living in major metropolis's, especially on the coasts, don't worry about being "civilized," but about being hip and think quaint=cool.

  10. #10
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    This one probably has enough comment from me.

    Still ... FWIW, I can now open the link given in post #5. Here it is again:

    Rural Americans Are Fatter Than City-Dwellers

    That tells us:

    The study controlled for other factors that impact weight, such as race, income, educational levels and age.
    it seems, then, confused to tell us that:

    Poverty, too, appears to play into the higher rates of obesity in rural settings
    I thought they just told us that they "controlled for" that -- isn't "income" a synonym for that? If that was "controlled for" meaning that even when taken out of the equation, the disparity still existed, then how does it also turn up as an explanation?

    The same link does give a link to the original paper. You have to pay to see it, however:

    Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults From Rural and Urban Areas of the United States: Findings From NHANES (2005-2008) - Befort - 2012 - The Journal of Rural Health - Wiley Online Library

    Does anyone here believe it would be worth the money?

    I think post #7 probably hits the nail on the head.

    They might also have tried to look at social change in a more sophisticated way. I mean they raised the question of "culture" -- although it's not clear they have any clue what the term actually means. How might the erosion of traditional lifeways -- religious conceptions of what would be an appropriate level of time and care to bring to food preparation, family meals, even sitting down to eat, etc. -- impact on diet.

    How about sleep and exposure to blue light? Was that even addressed? If it was, the news stories didn't mention it. We know this can impact on insulin sensitivity, although it's not clear that the mainstream does. But is there any difference in the average number of TV sets, video-game consoles, etc., in urban and rural households? Who spends longest in front of blue-light emitting devices? Or is there no difference?

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